Fish, Catharine (Kitty) (1794-1838)
MEMOIR OF CATHARINE FISH, SABBATH SCHOOL TEACHER.
(Better known by the name of Kitty Fish.)
She was born in Blackburn in the year 1794. Her early days were spent in sin and folly. But after her marriage she joined a religious community; but in about a year declined, and followed an ungodly course for many years, and she and her husband lived very uncomfortably together. At length it pleased God to incline Kitty to attend an open-air service, conducted by the writer of these remarks. The preacher trembled under a sense of his own weakness, but the power of God was upon us; and the word reached Kitty’s heart like fire. This was on a Sabbath about four years and a half ago. Kitty attended the preaching at night in the chapel; and the prayer meeting after. To attend this was a struggle. She inclined to leave the chapel, but still was wishful to stay. She went to the door, and down the steps — returned again — was miserable — tried to go out again, but failed — got behind the door — burst into a flood of tears— cried aloud, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” The members prayed for her, and directed her to the Saviour of sinners — she believed, was made happy, and shouted for joy. She attended Bro. Brigg’s class; and promised to bring her husband to the next class meeting. They both joined the society, and continued to the close of their lives.
Kitty was of a timid turn; but often, with tears, would say, “I know that my redeemer liveth. He is mine, and I am his.” But she had humble views of herself, and often expressed a fear lest she should deceive herself; yet she generally felt a sense of her acceptance, with and through Christ.
She was anxious to promote the glory of her heavenly Father; and, though possessing little learning, she entered into the Sabbath school to do what she could; and she continued to attend regularly, unless prevented by sickness.
In reproving sin in her neighbourhood, and among her relations, she was faithful, directing them to Christ to be made happy. Her tenderness of heart was great. O how anxious was she for the temporal and spiritual welfare of all around! So much so, that when the cholera was raging most alarmingly, she visited the dying to pray with them, and the living to warn them, until she caught the infection, and was not expected to recover. Indeed her death was again and again reported. But so much was she beloved, that the prayer meetings, classes, &c., yea, and private families, groaned in prayer for poor Kitty; and it is believed it was in answer to prayer that God raised her up again, and restored her to the church. And her first visit to the chapel after this, will not soon be forgot; bursts of praise sounded from the society! She loved God and delighted in his people, and in return was much beloved by them.
Sunday Jan. 7, 1838, she was taken ill; and a medical gentleman being called in, she said, “I am poorly.” “Poorly!” said he, “ you are very ill!” “Well,” said she, “be faithful; tell me the worst, for my peace is made with God.” She had the typhus fever.
While confined she often made the room ring with praises to God; and would call on her husband to assist, saying, God had done so much for her. She admonished her husband to press forward, and not fret for her, as it would not be long ere he would be with her again.
Saturday Jan. 13, being visited by Bro. Verity, to his enquiring of the state of her mind she replied, “Very happy. I feel Christ is precious. I feel that I have a sweet hope of glory in my soul. This is the third storm of affliction I have had. But HE was with me in the two last, and he is with me still.” Bro. V. said, “Then you have a present salvation. Now you must pray for a full and final salvation.” She replied, “I have victory through the blood of the Lamb; and though the enemy has made hard against me, I am not unacquainted with his wiles, but he is a conquered enemy. I have no fear of dying nor death.” She then broke out with, “Glory to Jesus! glory to Jesus! He is mine for ever!”
On Bro. V. praying, she exalted her voice in praising God and the Lamb. At parting she wished to be remembered to the society, and requested their united prayers.
January 15, Bro. Kidd visiting her found her delirious by the force of the fever. But the day but one after, he found her tranquil. She joined heartily in prayer, and cried, “Bless the Lord, he is good! Jesus is precious!” Bro. Kidd exhorted her to look to her reward, saying, a crown of glory awaited her, and would soon be put on her head. And a little time after, she sweetly breathed her spirit into the hands of her Redeemer, Jan. 22, 1838.
Some account of James Fish, husband of Kitty.
Kitty was buried on the Wednesday, and James went to his class alone on the Thursday, well in body and happy in soul, rejoicing with tears that his wife was gone to heaven, and that he was on the way, hoping soon to meet her in glory. On the Sunday he was at his post in the school, and was more active than usual.
The week following he took the typhus fever, and was not able to attend his wife’s funeral sermon; the knowledge of which very much affected the crowded audience in our new chapel.
The fever rapidly increased and he seldom possessed recollection. Feb. 17, Bro. Verity found him insensible. But on enquiry found that James on being taken ill, sent for the managers of the Sabbath school, and gave up his books, &c. he being treasurer of the school club; and was happy in telling them he should not recover; and wished them to look over his accounts; and let all things be settled in order, and one appointed in his place. All being done, he bade them farewell; and with tears they left their dear fellow Christian, and faithful servant of the school. And O! the sweet composure of his mind; not so much as a cloud seemed to darken his sky. Whenever he was sensible he was praising God; and with composure arranged his funeral, requesting that all the society might be requested to follow him to his grave.
Saturday night, Feb. 17, though mostly insensible, he often shouted “Glory,” and mentioned Kitty. And on one occasion said, “Kitty, is that thee!” as though he saw her. And on Sunday Feb. 18, 1838, he sweetly departed this life, aged fifty-three years.
(Approved by the Circuit Committee.)
Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838. Pages 310-312.